23 Jun, 2024 @ 11:58
2 mins read

Argentine President Javier Milei ratchets up war of words with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez during controversial visit to Madrid

Argentina’s Javier Milei to visit Spain: Controversial leader will attend event hosted by far-right Vox party

THE president of Argentina, Javier Milei, has once again launched a verbal attack on Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, this time during his controversial visit to Madrid. 

Speaking on Friday from the capital, the Argentine leader accused the Socialist Party chief of a ‘hit and run’ against Spaniards. 

But, he said, he had hopes that Spaniards were ‘waking up’, ‘as people woke up in Argentina’. 

The far-right Argentine president was speaking during a ceremony organised by the Madrid government, where he was awarded the region’s International Medal by its premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso of the conservative Partido Popular.

Read more: Argentine President Javier Milei requests an audience with Spanish King Felipe VI, despite ongoing campaign of insults against Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Ayuso President Of The Community Of Madrid Speaks About Accusations Of The Pp
Madrid premier Isabel Diaz Ayuso in a file photo from 2022. Photo: Juan Carlos Rojas

Ayuso has long been a fierce critic of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and has sided with Milei since his war of words with the Socialist chief began last month. 

“We have come from the future to tell you a story about the damage and decay caused by socialism,” Milei stated during his speech at the ceremony on Friday. 

Ayuso’s actions have been widely panned by the political opposition, with accusations levelled against her of ‘disloyalty’ after Milei not only insulted Sanchez, but also accused his wife Begoña Gomez of corruption after a judicial probe was opened against her on allegations of influence peddling.

Leftist political parties Sumar and Podemos on Saturday slammed the awarding of the medal to Milei as ‘shameful’ and ‘illegal’ 

“I don’t know if the head of the ultra-right believes she is above the government of Spain or if she believes she is above the laws, but it is clearly illegal for this medal to be awarded,” said Javier Sanchez Serna, a lawmaker in Congress for Podemos, in comments reported by Europa Press.

Ayuso, however, defended her actions. “The president of Argentina has received a distinction because we have the power to award it, just as the prime minister can grant many other distinctions and no one questions him for it,” she said on Saturday. 

She also railed against Sanchez for receiving leaders who have insulted Spain and King Felipe VI, and praised Milei for standing up to Spain, a country that she said had been ‘sunk’ by the Socialists and the leftist parties that back them. 

The diplomatic spat between Spain and Argentina began in May, when Spanish Transport Minister Oscar Puente publicly speculated that Milei was a drug user, and deepened when the Argentine president called the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez ‘corrupt’.

Sanchez called on Milei to apologise, which only saw him double down, branding the prime minister a ‘coward’.

Spain then recalled its ambassador from Buenos Aires as the row deepened.

Despite the diplomatic tension between the two countries, Spain last week agreed to the usual protocols that swing into action when a foreign leader makes a visit. 

Milei’s official plane was able to land at a Madrid airport, and his security detail was granted permission to carry weapons while in the country, according to Spanish daily El Pais. The Interior Ministry also supplied a unit to guarantee his safety while on Spanish soil. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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